It has emerged that Windows Vista Enterprise will only be available to those who sign up for Software Assurance. Enterprise, which is one of six versions of the next generation OS from Microsoft, will be available only via Microsoft's software maintenance program.

"There will probably be some pushback on that. There's already been pushback on buying Software Assurance because there's no guarantee [software] will be released during the term of the customer contract, " said David Orvis, license management services strategist at Software Spectrum, a Plano, Texas-based solution provider and major Microsoft reseller. "In some cases, it will help Microsoft get Software Assurance contracts. But Vista Enterprise being an entitlement only on SA? It will be a major issue. But I don't know how much of a backlash there will be."
Microsoft partners and industry analysts expect opposition to the requirement, since it is estimated that only 50 percent of Microsoft's business customers buy Software Assurance.